Secret millionaire Grace Groner passed away and left behind $7 million dollars to Lake Forest College. Grace Groner lived through the Great Depression and purchased $180 dollar stock purchase in 1935 which grew into a $7 million dollar investment.
Groner lived exceptionally frugally, purchased her clothes at rummage sales, walked rather than purchasing a car, and lived in a one bedroom Lake Forest house barren of luxury. Her few possessions included some inexpensive furniture, mismatched dishes, and an outdated "hulking" television. Groner's one indulgence was a small scholarship program at Lake Forest College. A Lake Forest alum, she worked as a secretary at Abbott Laboratories for the forty three years following her 1931 graduation. Groner and her twin sister lost their parents when they were children, when Grace was twelve. Raised by a family friend and prestigious Lake Forest resident George Anderson, she attended college with his support.
Groner was 100 years old when she passed in January. After her death, William Marlatt, her long time friend and lawyer contacted Lake Forest College President Stephen D. Schutt to report the dollar amount Groner left the university. Schutt's response was "Oh, my God."
The college will use the funds for internship and study abroad programs for it's 1,300 students who otherwise would not have the resources or means for such areas of study.